Archive for the ‘travertine’ Category


Finally! The solution to the travertine travails
at Mies’ 860-880 Lake Shore Drive!

Since travertine doesn’t do well in Chicago’s climate – witness the state of the stone at 860-880 Lake Shore Drive –

I have done some research and found the solution. It’s “greaseproof, easy-to-clean, and need not be waxed.”

Vinyl travertine!

But of course.
Who would have thunk it?
Discovered on the back of a 1963 Architectural Forum.

Aren’t you glad the ’60’s are over?


It’s not King Tut’s tomb, or Al Capone’s vault, but…

The first stone is removed at 860-880 Lake Shore Drive, for plaza restoration.

Many more will come up.

Why are we doing this?

You see the sad state of the many years old travertine.

And we’ll repair the corrosion underneath that is causing lobby glass to crack

After years in the sun and Chicago winters,

-they could use a little painting.

Here’s to a great restoration. Can’t wait to see it.
Remember, these photos focus on what needs to be fixed. What’s interesting is that even with this normal wear and tear of the decades, these buildings still look great.

Is that clear? (smile) Looks like it.



Restoration begins at Mies van der Rohe’s
860 – 880 Lake Shore Drive Apartments

Looking for cracks in the travertine in the lobby to see which stones will need to be replaced is Douglas Gilbert, AIA of Harboe Architects, restoration specialists.

Most of the interior travertine is original, with a nice decades-old patina on it. We’ll powerwash it all and replace what needs to be replaced. This must be done, but it’s sad to see the evidence of time passed washed away, (I remember Chartres before and after a restoration; it had more character before.) And we’ll have to remove many stones that Mies himself selected. Here’s the grid for the travertine in the lobby.

In a building like this, in which the senses are heightened, each stone is different.

And of course, most important is the tone of the ensemble.

It’s the same story you read on the facade. Individual units, each slightly different, all with much in common, and connected into an artistic whole.



860 – 880 Lake Shore Drive by Mies van der Rohe –
7+ million dollar restoration project

Just wanted to update you, and tell you where we stand.

Per the trustees, the following architects responded to our
Request For Proposal

Booth Hansen, Epstein, Gunny Harboe, Holabird & Root,
Krueck & Sexton, and Vinci/Hamp.

Gensler, and Fujikawa Johnson Gobel rejected our proposal.

After we choose an architect, the roof and exterior painting projects could start as soon as in August. The work on the travertine plaza

and lobby window wall would start next spring.

I wrote more about it here and here.

Stay tuned,